Early changes to breasts and nipples

A woman’s breasts undergo massive changes within two to four weeks after conceiving a baby.

Pregnancy breast changes

Breasts develop and enlarge under the influence of the hormone oestrogen, which is the same hormone responsible for breast development during puberty.

When the breast changes during pregnancy, it’s because the milk ducts are growing in preparation for breastfeeding.
The increased blood supply a woman has during pregnancy also makes the veins in the breasts become more noticeable.

Some women experience breast changes after conception as a ‘pre-menstrual’ sign, and therefore may sense changes even before their period is due.

Breast changes after conception

The breasts will often feel tender, swollen and ‘fuller’. Some women also experience tingling sensations.

By about 12 weeks of the pregnancy, the skin of the nipple and areola may start to darken or ‘pigment’. Skin colour changes are very individual to each woman. Women with darker hair and darker complexions tend to notice more colour change than fairer skinned women.

The nipples may become more prominent and feel quite sensitive or even sore. Some pregnant women choose to start wearing a comfortable, supportive bra such as a sports bra without under wires to support their changing breasts.

Other early symptoms

You can find out about other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy at the following links:

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